Jews and Arabs play tennis in Israel -Freddie Krivine Foundation

An Israeli tennis enthusiast noticed in the 1990s that very few Arabs living in Israel had any chance to play his beloved sport.

He dreamed that a tennis court could provide a common ground between Jews and Arabs and Christians alike, promoting co-existence, equality and self esteem.

Freddie Krivine - Foundation PhotoSo, in 1998 he created the Freddie Krivine Foundation which has built or supported tennis courts and programs in nine Arab neighborhoods, like Nazareth and Haifa, all across Israel.

He believed it was important to create facilities in their own communities so children could play on their own time, rather than piling into buses and driving to a centralized tennis center. Besides creating and maintaining courts, the foundation highly subsidizes tennis lessons, and trains and promotes coaching.

One of the foundation’s stars is Ruan Zubidate, a Bedouin who became the top female Arab tennis player in Israel.

After Freddie died at age 84, his daughter Jane took over as director. But, the main emphasis is still to introduce Israeli Arab children to tennis, and through tennis to introduce Jewish and Arab chidren to each other.

Every year the Foundation runs inter-school tennis programs for Arab and Jewish children to train and play together. Coaching, social outings and sporting opportunities are all designed to build self-esteem, break down barriers and foster understanding. Mixed Arab and Jewish teams of talented players go on to more intensive coaching and play junior tournaments together.

Freddie will be remembered for his noble work bringing Arabs and Jews together during the 2nd annual Akko Open women’s international tennis tournament in October. The fact that the tournament is staged at the newly-opened Israel Tennis Centre in the Jewish/Arab town of Akko is a fulfillment of another of Freddie’s dreams.

(WATCH the video below)

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